Salisbury is the only city within Wiltshire, and has become well known due to its magnificent cathedral. Located in the south west of the county, this is the perfect base from which to explore Stonehenge, one of Britain’s most famous historical sites.
By air: London Heathrow is located approximately 75 miles from the city, with Gatwick airport around 100 miles away. Both airports host flights from all around the world. Southampton and Bournemouth airports are located around 25 miles away, offering a smaller selection of flights mostly from Europe.
By rail: There is a direct train service from London Waterloo taking around 1 hr 30 mins. There is also a direct train service to Exeter, Bristol, Bath, Portsmouth and Cardiff.
By road: Salisbury is situated in the South West and is a middle point between London and the south west coastline. The city is not on a major motorway but can be accessed from London either from the M4 or M3 (depending on traffic) and is around a 30 minute journey from the relevant junctions of the motorways.
For those wanting to visit the beach, Bournemouth is just under 30 miles from the city centre along the A338. Oxford can also be accessed by the A34 and takes around an hour and a half.
By bus: head to Victoria Coach Station to get the bus from London, travel time takes between 3 and 3 and a half hours. For those with an interest in cathedral cities, the Cathedral Connection bus link connects Salisbury and Winchester. There are local services to Stonehenge.
THINGS TO SEE
Stonehenge: Possibly one of the most iconic tourist attractions in the UK, Stonehenge is a well known Neolithic and Bronze Age monument and designated UNESCO World Heritage Site located on Salisbury Plain. This is one of the most archaeologically rich areas in Europe and just 9 miles from the city of Salisbury.
Opening times: Jun-Aug 9am-8pm, Sep-15th Oct 9:30am-7pm, 15th Oct-Mar 9:30am-5pm
Price: Adult £16.50, Child £9.90, Concession £14.90
Salisbury Cathedral: Pilgrims have been visiting Salisbury for over 750 years, seeking inspiration and comfort from the magnificent cathedral. The cathedral remains a living church and active place of worship. The cathedral is also home to the best preserved original manuscript of the Magna Carta.
Opening times: Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 12pm-4pm
Price: Voluntary donations accepted
Mompesson House: this 18th Century house is now run by the National Trust and is housed in Salisbury’s pretty Cathedral Close. The interiors of the house are a great example of how the townhouse would have been in the 1700’s, except for the library which is styled in a 1950’s fashion. To the back of the house is a hidden and tranquil garden which offers a great opportunity to get away from the tourist crowds.
Opening times: Mon-Sun Apr-Oct 11am-5pm (please check opening dates after October and during winter as these differ).
Price: Adult £6.50, Child £3.25
The Rifles Berkshire and Wiltshire: Acquired in 1979 and restored over the next two years the ground floor of The Wardrobe opened in 1981 displaying the Collections of the Royal Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiments. The displays and Collection now include items from the successor Regiments, on display are some 2,000 items.
Opening times: Feb-Nov Mon-Sat 10am-5pm. Dec-Jan Closed.
Price: Adult £5, Child £3, Concessions £4
Arundells House: A charming and peaceful house located in Cathedral Close and former home to Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath MBE, Arundells House was left to a charitable organisation in 2005. Sir Edward wanted others to enjoy the charm and beauty of his beloved home and to showcase his diverse and personal collection of art and photographs.
Opening times: Sat-Tues 11am-5pm, Weds: guided tours only.
Price: Adults £7, Children Free. Guided tours £10 per person.
The Salisbury Museum: This museum offers a great insight to the long history of Salisbury city, including exhibitions on Stonehenge, the Roman and Saxon periods, Medieval Salisbury, a well as the social history of the city and various collections of art and ceramics.
Opening times: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-5pm
Price: Adult £7.50, Child £3.60
PLACES TO EAT
Bills: whilst I normally don’t recommend chain restaurants, I was taken a back at how great the service was at Bills Restaurant. The food never fails to disappoint, the menu is full of variety and also offers healthy options if you don’t want anything too heavy. Staff are extremely helpful and accommodating.
Cafe Diwali: Enjoy traditional Indian street food and craft beers in this very ancient city. A unique take on Indian cuisine, the food is displayed in a way that will make you get your camera out, staff are great, and dishes are authentic and delicious.
The Chapter House: Located in the heart of Salisbury, the Chapter House homes a cosy restaurant and pub. Steeped in history, the stone used to build Salisbury Cathedral was cut in what is now the restaurant, meaning the establishment is over 800 years old. This is the place to go if you enjoy delicious steaks, also on offers is an array of British and pub grub.
Leonardo’s La Piazza: Situated on Salisbury’s pretty market square, enjoy lunch al fresco during summer and watch the world pass you by, on a grey day, head inside. The chef has created a delicious Italian menu, providing fresh and local ingredients.
WHERE TO STAY
Pembroke Arms Hotel: A traditional 18th Century ex coaching inn oozing in character and charm. Located in pretty wilton and a few minutes drive from Salisbury city, the Pembroke Arms is located perfectly to enjoy the local area, Stonehenge is just 20 minutes drive away. Housing 9 pretty en suite bedrooms, the hotel offers rooms in varying sizes and prices.
Price: Starting from £120 per night
The King’s Head Inn: On a site occupied by an inn since the 15th Century, the King’s Head is located in the city centre and perfect for using as a base to explore the city. Not the most luxurious of hotels, the King’s Head offers great value for money and a comfortable stay.
Price: Starting from £49 a night
The Legacy Rose and Crown Hotel: Set in a picturesque location with views over the river Avon, the Rose and Crown is a 13th Century venue with rooms that have been lovingly restored to compliment the history of the building. For those wanting more modern chambers, book a room in the Garden Wing which lead out to the garden and river.
Price: Starting from £115